Growing up on Shelter Island, Juliet Garrett got to experience the best of the East End practically every day of her life.
Now living in New York City and London, the musician credits the close community of her hometown and surrounding areas with giving her a solid foundation. And an appreciation for the little things, as well as the big ones.
“At home, the air feels different. The salt, the nature, running into friends and people who know you and your family wherever you might go,” she explains. “It’s so nice to be somewhere where there’s a real community.”
Just off a short tour of small venue concerts in London, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Berlin, the singer/songwriter — whose earliest influences include The Beatles, Joni Mitchell and Carole King — took some time to talk about her hometown, her music and her journey. It turns out, the peripatetic performer says, that no matter where she is in the world, that feeling of connectivity and belonging is universal among the people she meets.
One song, in particular, seems to resonate. Called “Small Town Girl,” it has received positive feedback whenever and wherever she has played it.
Of course not everyone grows up on an island, nor do they necessarily share the experience of living in a place where everyone identifies their neighbors by sight and name. But it’s nice to see that we all recognize that feeling that we associate with being at home, she says.
“I was surprised at first how people responded to it,” says Garrett of her song. “But then I realized that many of us, no matter where in the world we come from, understand that sense of place that comes from belonging, from being held in a community. It’s a really powerful feeling.”
Being in a big place also has much to offer, she says, adding that she’s been fortunate enough to be able to experience both worlds. From New York to London, that feeling of wonder has been practically ever-present.
“There’s infinite possibility in a city. You walk around the corner and anything can happen,” says the singer/songwriter, whose earlier career includes fronting the Princeton-, and later, Brooklyn-based rock band Psychobaby. “I’m grateful for that fun, vibrant and liberating time.”
Her newest work, however, brings a return to her gentler / earlier musical roots. The just-released debut single, “Carry On,” is available on her site at julietgarrett.com and on iheartradio.
The overarching message for the four-plus minute ballad is stated right in the title.
Simple, yet effective, the lyrics seem to blend Garrett’s core beliefs, world-views and present-day struggles, turning dark days into more manageable moments.
“I think the world’s in a pretty turbulent place right now, and we need music and togetherness and community now more than ever,” she says. “I hope my music can help with that healing, just a little bit.”
Reflecting on her journeys thus far, Garrett shares that she doesn’t get back to the East End as often as she’d like at the moment. But she relishes her time here when she is able to return. Most recently, she stayed a few months to spend time with her family — her mom, artist Margaret Garrett, her dad, composer Bruce Wolosoff, and her younger sister, student and fellow creative, Katya — and to perform a one-night-only concert with her father at Guild Hall in East Hampton this past September.
“It was amazing,” she says, adding that she will always set her sights high when it comes time to perform here again. In the meanwhile, she will continue to work at her craft and learn from her experiences on the road and back in New York.
“The music has to stand on it’s own a little bit more before I’m ready to come back and play,” says Garrett. “I would love to play the summer series at The Surf Lodge. That would be a dream hometown gig.”